Almost one-third of children and two-thirds of adults are currently overweight in the United States. The obesity epidemic costs nearly $215 billion annually, a figure that covers lost productivity and the cost of medical care. While many people know that overeating is the main cause of weight gain, researchers are also finding that other factors such as environmental toxins and chemicals in beauty products are directly correlated to weight gain.
Xenoestrogens are a class of environmental pollutants that mimic the effect of estrogen when they are breathed in as fumes, ingested or applied to our skin by way of personal care products. They are also found in plastic water bottles in the form of Bisphenol-A, pesticides, car exhaust, solvents including nail polish and remover, as well as emulsifiers in cosmetics and soap. Additionally, we may also potentially be exposed to these toxins by way of synthetic hormones like those in birth control pills. When we relieve our bodies of waste and the remaining molecules within these pills, they are flushed into sewers and thus find their way into the soil, water and back into our bodies.
Xenoestrogens are not biodegradable because of their synthetic nature. Instead, they are stored in the fat cells of the body, growing larger or multiplying in direct correlation with weight gain. The end result is increased levels of toxicity, greater disruption of hormones and an even higher potential for weight gain.
Phthalates, found in nearly 70 percent of household cleaning products and cosmetics, can disrupt your hormones and throw off your body’s natural weight control system. In other words, exposure to “chemical calories” can occur simply by cleaning your kitchen, washing your hair, applying makeup or drinking from a plastic bottle.
A study concerning phthalates recently conducted at the Mount Sinair Medical Center in New York found that heavier girls had higher levels of these chemical calories when their urine was studied. Additionally, endocrine disruptors such as xenoestrogens and phthalates were found to affect mice; the mice exposed to these toxins became obese.
How Do These Toxins Promote Weight Gain?
Scientists and doctors agree that estrogen converts calories into fat. In fact, some farmers regularly give estrogen to their cattle to “beef them up” before they sell them to be slaughtered. We consume not only the beef but the hormones the cows have eaten as well. Additionally, while progesterone promotes weight loss by balancing the effect of estrogen, older women nearing menopause have less progesterone in their systems, resulting in estrogen dominance. It is this condition when intensified by xenoestrogens that leads to increased cravings for sugary food, thus aiding in additional weight gain.
Importance of Natural Beauty Products
While we cannot always control the toxins to which we are exposed, such as car exhaust, we can help our bodies by only using natural beauty care products instead. Naysayers claim that the minimal amount of these toxins should not cause harm to our bodies. However, they are not taking into consideration the sheer number of products we use. For instance, if you use a cologne, shampoo, conditioner, nail polish, eye shadow, foundation and contact lens solution all in the same day, the amount of these toxins adds up drastically. It is imperative to closely examine each label on the products you use and attempt to find an organic or natural substitute instead.
If you are currently on a diet, it is especially important to read your products carefully because those who are following a low-fat diet may suffer the most from side effects stemming from use of the chemicals. By consuming less fat, you are also reducing the number of fat-soluble vitamins with your body, leaving you with drier skin. In turn, you may opt for more moisturizing creams without knowing that you are worsening the problem by supplying your skin with even more chemicals.